previous next

Timoleon. Phalaris

We may fairly judge Timaeus on the principles which
The incapacity of Timaeus for forming a judgment.
he has himself laid down. According to him, "poets and historians betray their own tastes by the incidents which they repeatedly record in their writings. Thus the poet1 by his fondness for banqueting scenes shows that he is a glutton; and in the same way Aristotle, by frequently describing rich food in his writings, betrays his love of dainty living and his greediness." On the same principle he judges Dionysius the tyrant because he "was always very particular in the ornamentation of his dining-couches, and had hangings of exquisite make and variegated colours." If we apply this principle to Timaeus, we shall have abundant reason to think badly of him. In attacking others he shows great acuteness and boldness; when he comes to independent narrative he is full of dreams, miracles, incredible myths,—in a word, of miserable superstition and old wives' tales. The truth is that Timaeus is a proof of the fact, that at times, and in the case of many men, want of skill and want of judgment so completely destroy the value of their evidence, that though present at and eye-witnesses of the facts which they record, they might just as well have been absent or had no eyes. . . .

1 Homer, who is generally spoken of as "the poet." We may remember Horace Ep. 1, 19, 6)Laudibus arguitur vini vinosus Homerus.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: